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Subject: Holy Cow! That So-called Roman Empire Wins Again. rss

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Ty Wyman
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Not the World Championship, I know, but I played the kids again. After reading Bjorn's strategy guide, I felt confident playing the man in the bullseye.

Austria began with remarkably timid play, holding off in both Silesia and Saxony for several rounds. I considered either pulling an army out or, conversely, attacking in her homeland. However, thinking time was my greatest ally, I did neither.

France presented the greatest early threat. My son made a strong left flank move and was past Ravensberg early. I was forced to reinforce Hannover more strongly and quickly then I had hoped. I got quite lucky, then, that Pompadour quit on Turn 13.

My son also played Russia. I surrendered East Prussia, a controversial move I know. However, it paid off as Russia was stymied in Clubs, my armies placed at Stargard and Belgard. I was helped by Sweden’s exit in Round 8, but the Tsarina (who lasted to the end) was never a significant threat.

So, did I win? No. I lost to the Imperial Army (for the second time in 5 plays as Friedrich).

The IA is a sleeper, particularly with relaxed victory conditions. My daughter committed a lot of Austrian might there and I underreacted, even with Hannover brought to the battle. (Perhaps thinking Hannover a greater partner than she is led to my underreaction.)

I defended Silesia in Diamonds. Seeing that, she used the IA to chip away at that suit. I eventually gave up Diamonds in Silesia in favor of Spades, but the damage was done. Even supported by the fifth Austrian general, I believed that I could hold out in Hearts. By Turn 20, however, they were exhausted.

I continue to believe that, contrary to many prior comments, Prussia has the upper hand in this game, given its interior defense and ability to pick the battlefields. However, aggressive play by the lesser forces (Sweden and IA) seems more capable of undermining these advantages than I had realized.

For now, we are on to Maria. I am, however, left with the big question of how many Prussion armies to commit to IA when it gets significant help from Austria.
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Björn Apelqvist
Sweden
Sturefors
Östergötland
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It's a very delicate problem you've come across Mr. Wyman. I agree that Prussia is the strongest side to play, if all players play according to my strategy advice I would suggest Prussia wins at least 40% of the time. When playing with my friends in Sweden, Prussia is even more successful as only two of us use the strategies and tactics I recommend. If one of us play Prussia, only bad luck of epic proportions stops Prussia.

I personally only find two solutions to be somewhat satisfactory when dealing with the Imperial army, the weakest point in my overall strategies. A defense in Saxony against both the Imperial army and Austria works well, until your opponent learns how to cut off your supply. The second alternative, the one I use right now, is to send general 1 or 2 with a single army to attack the Holy Roman Empire right away and then remain by the capital to prevent the army from reappearing. It's not difficult for the Austrians to drive you away, but if you are able to keep the Imperial army out of the game until turn 10, winning with the Imperial army is too difficult and risky for most players. It takes 6 turns to conquer the primary objectives, so by turn 18 you may safely ignore the Imperial army. If you use this strategy, I would advice you to use diamonds to build armies and fight against Imperial army and Sweden.

I didn't quite answer you specific question, so let's do that. If I see Austria moving to support the Imperial army despite my aggressive stance against it, I would continue to hunt down the Imperial army and kick it off the board. I would send one general into Silesia to slow down the Austrian if he decides to not place all his eggs in the same basket. And my main defense force against Austria would move from clubs into diamonds in Saxony to protect the Imperial objectives. My main goal would be to delay the Imperial advance until Russia/Sweden or France drops out.
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Brandon Pennington
United States
Springfield
Missouri
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We have never seen the Holy Roman's win in our games but Sweden has won on occasion.
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Ty Wyman
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Thanks Bjorn.

One bit of hindsight on my most recent session is that I had an opprtunity to annilihate the IA fairly early. I passed it up, thinking it not worth even a few TC's. Obviously, I came to regret that. Indeed, the annilihation option is one to quite seriously when playing the Prussian side. (Ironically, I suffered it in my current PBEM game.)

I need to restudy your guide, but is it fair to say that, in a general sense, you play the Prussian side pretty agressively?
 
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Björn Apelqvist
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Sturefors
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Yes and no. Against Russia and Austria I only attack if I have to or if I have managed to empty his hand. I usually attack French armies once or twice when I get the chance from Werningerode, but that is only because Hanover will get slaughtered without Prussian help and I am able to follow up the attack with Hanover. But as a rule of thumb you should never attack with Prussia.

Sweden and Imperial army is a different matter. Sweden I usually attack with Hanover in order to score an easy victory right away, and it's on the road to Russia and Austria. With Prussia I only attack Sweden if I can do it in diamonds and it's not a big priority. Just to keep them down.

Imperial army has the mixed blessing of having its objectives in a large area that I usually leave close to undefended. Because of that I need to attack to prevent IA from hiding in Austria or getting help from her armies. As I want to use diamonds to fight Sweden/IA and build new armies, it suits me well to wait by the IA home city. An aggressive attack on IA usually prevents Austria from focusing on that front, which is just what I want.

Is it fair to say that I play Prussia aggressively? In some aspects I do and I think I play Prussia more aggressively than many other players. But it's always in order to achieve something I can't achieve by being passive.
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Anton Telle
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Wow, that means, that for 7 rounds (14 to 20) your daughter (Austria) was supporting her brother (IA), and not going about her own business.
 
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Ty Wyman
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With my son playing Russia and it still in the game, I felt it unfair to give him the benefit of his sister's hard work. So, she led the Empire to victory.
 
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